Saturday, 18 May 2019

Hussar Rampant action post Waterloo-ish

Hussar Rampant fictional action somewhere in southern Belgium, post Waterloo?

The French needed to get the wagons pack and moving. They also needed the squadrons active to counter the Allies horse attacking them.  They could not do both at the same time.
French wagons quickly (too quickly for the Allies) packing up and moving.  Perry metal horses (team separated) with Warbases MDF wagons.

….However, both Allies players (myself and ChrisP) failed our first activations even though Chris had accurately predicted his starting position (closer to the bridge to the French’s rear but harder the roll to do so but of which he was successful)  Because of the wagons/non-activation problem for the French, I gave them quite the points advantage which they used the numbers and tough cuirassiers to counter each of our attacks.
My badly handled 4th Dutch-Belgian Light Dragoons showing the new 'blown' markers - hussar pelisse left on the ground
Jim's cuirassiers verses my British Light Dragoons (left) and my converted Dutch-Belgian 5th Light Dragoons (right).  The fight to cross or defend the bridge lasted the entire game.
Though much of the discussion of the rules could be clarified if I could remember them (!) or remember to look them up (!) I guess they survived.  But combat over the wooden bridge was controversial to such a point that I exclaimed, “Note to self - no more bridges in scenarios!!”
"Illegal" formations made by ChrisP due to my rather poor instructions about river crossings and requirements for combat .
This was corrected but poor ChrisP never did cross the river to assault the retreating wagons due to the attentions of JimF.  
SteveA came over to have the rules a go and give them a tough 'tug'.  His very young step-son was given the command of the two squadrons of French Chasseurs light horse.  While the kid's rolling for all of dad's combat was quite good, he failed ALL of his own activations so thus these horse remained inactive for the game.  The good thing for the French were that they were really not needed! In the background, the cuirassiers were doing yeomen service forcing off my D-B attacks.

You may note in the photos the use of a new version of our “blown” marker - a discarded hussar’s pelisse in light blue with some of the units during the game.  With the number of Perry plastic hussar boxes I have used in the past while, I have a lot of them left over which I decided to put to good use.  These can be used in conjunction with our normal ‘horse-head’ markers. Any marker would do, but these have a nice aesthetic look.
My Dutch-Belgian Carabinier heavy horse.  Perry plastics converted from dragoons and modified.  The two pelisse markers does suggest the front squadron is in trouble!

Humorous event from the game:  poor JimF was lamenting about the lances he manages to knock off his metal figures each game.  Well, surprisingly he did not knock off a single lance this affair - it was instead the eagle standard off the cuirassiers to much amusement of the other players. least the broken piece was not a lance!  (Jim's French 13th Cuirassiers in 'Spanish brown' and the broken piece)

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

other 'Trumpeter Salute 2019' games

While London England hosts its large Salute convention, Vancouver, Canada hosts its "Trumpeter Salute" three day convention near the same time.  I believe our 'Salute' name was first but not near as large or famous...

Aside from hosting a game, I played in two other games.  The first was Thomas' WW2 late war action in which I played a German commander holding off a serious British attack on a village.  His winter terrain was very nice to look at and gave a great feel to the game.  I remember one veteran wargamer gave me advice many years ago when he suggested "Only get in games which look good. If the rules are bad, if the GM is unsure, or if the scenario sucks, at least you have something nice to look at"

However, the 'Rapid Fire' rules under the excellent tutorage of Thomas and the straight forward scenario made for a good game; other than the excellent British dice (and tactics if I were honest) and our rather poor dice made for a rather quick game.

Examples of the balance of play:  I heard my German co-player moan to look to my right to see our mighty Tiger 1 tank, the glorious holder of our right flank, in flames!  Apparently lots of sixes were rolled by the British player firing his Shermans at it..... On my side, early in the game I had a panzerscreck crew jump out of cover to fire a surprise shot at the nearest British missed and was promptly shot to pieces. Later, my StuG moved up from cover only to be destroyed in the first shot and my AT gun in apparent hiding - at least I hoped- awaiting its chance after the additional British Shermans to cross the hedge, finally had to concede the enemy were content only to shoot up my infantry in the buildings, so fired a shot only to have it miss and have return fire kill most of the crew. Meanwhile I was struggling to find anybody to re-man the heavy machine gun - the only real asset the Germans had left,  from the continual British fire.  The game/battle was over in less than two hours. But it was pretty to look at!


The second game was another of DennisC's ACW historical scenarios, this time the Union assault on the Sunken Road during the Battle of Sharpsburg/Antietam.
I took one of the Union divisions and almost (!) took the right flank of the Confederate stronghold but the local player, JimL, a boy who can pull high dice out of his a*s apparently by demand, always rolled a 10 to my 9 and in the ruleset of "Fire and Fury"one point can make all the difference.
In the middle, the rather weak Union division could not make headway against the small but strong force of Rebs holding the sunken road and so DennisC in his continual quest for history to repeat itself had his wish.....

Retreat from Moscow - 1812 edition

On the cold road home......

Another “Trumpeter Salute” convention by the local Trumpeter Tabletop Society club is over and leaving me with a bit of a “wargamer hangover”  This can be described as a worn out feeling, sore feet, weak voice, throbbing head, aching back, and always that slight regret of not purchasing that good deal…..
the 'Vodka Wagon' pulled along

I hosted my “Retreat from Moscow” game.  For those two fellows in the back row unaware of the history (or myth…) Napoleon’s Grand Armee consisting of most of Europe’s armies was making its way back from the disastrous campaign in Russia in 1812 and through the snows of winter.

The game has very simple rules using measuring sticks and lots of randomness which helps in the fun atmosphere. Because the Russians (mostly armed peasants but a smattering of Cossacks and Jagers) are on ‘auto-pilot’ they can act in unforeseen ways but in this game with my rather low rolls, generally did not give the Allies much grief.  This, at least to me, rather boring state of affairs would change when one of the players, having safely crossed the bridge with his two units abruptly turned about and starting shooting at his compatriots!!
The peasants make a rare stand near the log pile
a close up of the Polish contingent

Apparently he decided on gaining the ‘Vodka Wagon’ for himself and the points.  He had asked me before doing this nefarious act, if he "could shoot at any unit?".  I said “yeah, sure I guess” not thinking it would be his friends.   JimD, up from the States, after this action, said he moved closer to me so I would hold him back from lunging at “the traitor”. He later said he was really angry.  I totally missed his reaction and thought the whole thing amusing and made the game that more interesting…….
congestion on the bridge
the 'traitors' (on the left) fire upon their erstwhile compatriots who retreat from the fire and abandon the wagon

As a note I made up a rule, on the spot, about the bridge, over which they must cross lest they chance dying in the frozen waters of the creek, a chance of partial collapse.  1 in 6 chance.  Of course, it would break three times each time having a greater chance.  PeterM, our statistician, wryly was calculating if it were better to chance the cold water instead!  
the Old Guard form a powerful rear guard...that is until JimF orders his unit to break rank to run for the bridge leaving PeterM to hold on his own with only half the firepower.  Only his good dice and random fate (aka my poor dice rolling for the Russian aggression) allow him to retreat intact also. (the bridge held intact long enough!)

Monday, 18 March 2019

Battle of the road apples....

“Oh for the love of !*#!”,exclaimed the infantry General.  “That is it!  I have had it with those damned idiots on horses! I am tired of stepping in horse dung. If they want their forage then they can MARCH and step in their own sh!t”

And so it passed that elements of the French 5th Dragoons and 8th Cuirassiers would be foot soldiers escorting the wagon to the forage depot.  The convoy will be the target of the local Hungarian Grenzer militia [ their history ] in this solo fictional game using the new Rebels and Patriots ruleset.

Both side had 12 points apiece. The Dragoons elements were the lead elite troop of 6 skirmishers - but not being so elite - along with 2 units of poor shooting line (unaccustomed to being on foot and armed with only carbines) following with the wagon and the large line unit Cuirassiers also poor shots.
My "foot cuirassiers" are Perry plastic dragoons with the lapels scraped away and a new color scheme. Note the one bloke still wearing his armour which I added with a torso swap. Plastics can be fun; to create what you want.

The Hungarian Grenzers were formed into two light units, one to hit the front of the column, the other the rear in a classic guerrilla attack.
The 'Grenzers' and cuirassiers in the distance trade shots

The attack starts with the front Grenzer unit “missing the start-time” and failing to move!  Luckily the rear unit fires upon the cuirassiers, who, with only the benefit of the commander with the unit, pass morale and so not disordered and then could move into the protective woods.
A unit of Dragoons move to help the beleaguered Cuirassiers while the other moves to protect the wagon.  The lead elite Skirmishers are frozen in place.  This seemed to be the pattern in the front as both the Skirmishers would not activate or not produce enough firepower to frighten the Grenzers.  They would eventually fall back on the wagon guards and together would keep the Hungarians at bay.
The wagoners await the opportunity to continue the march.

In the rear, the Cuirassiers would fire at the Grenzer light infantry (gaining the benefit of cover even in the open vs the weak return fire being in the woods).  With generally only 6s hitting and 3 hits = a kill, casualties and thus important enemy morale tests were hard to obtain.  The Grenzers with 5+ hits were a bit better but at a simple 7+ morale fails are 50/50 and so most could be passed (often with the help of the officer however!).  The Dragoons assisting the cuirassiers from across the stream were particularly unhelpful as their fire was desultory at best.

However the fire, weak that is was, was finally able, to have the Hungarians retreat (failing to rally) for successive turns.  At this point I would roll double ones on activations which trigger fun chance occurrences.   The Grenzers had a disorder marker added automatically (which they would roll off) and for the Dragoons are now “running of ammunition” - which might explain their poor fire!
more shots traded
The Grenzers (in the distance with the knapsack markers) having a only one disorder need not rally should they choose, but having such disorder is a large hinderance...

Back at the front… the Skirmishers finally got out of the way to allow the ‘reserve’ Dragoon unit to fire upon the Hungarians.  Together they held off the light infantry.  I did not conduct any attacks as both sides were not upgraded to being “fighty”.  Shooting by poor shooters frankly was not effective and so attacks might be in order.  While the rules are simple they are uncommonly tactics sensitive so different styles of play would be best at different times.  Very interesting indeed.

Nevertheless in this play and battle, the light infantry of the Hungarians would not press the issue and would retire intact, while the dismounted cavalry would be thankful not to sustain more damage.  Nonetheless, the losses were 8 of 24 figures for the Hungarians (30% losses) and 14 of 48 French (28%)

Continued firing, and thus the chance of any hits forcing a morale test, seems to be the way of the rules (and frankly of the era’s method of fighting) so gives the correct impression.  I like the effect even though one can have turn after turn of little effect.
Even with half the recommended points, it was a fun little game.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Panzer Schaden

“What a Tanker” game from a month back.  My Pzkw III would charge up to take on some little Frenchie thing, but heavily armoured.... apparently, so did no damage.  I got shot up, tried to reverse out of trouble, ran out of command chits and was brewed.  No Iron Cross for me.
Craig's nice layout.  Will's effective Char B can be seen in the middle left of the scene. 1/56 (28mm) scale.
Having reversed but not out of trouble, I am finally put out of commission but the "little Frenchie thing" unseen to the far left.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

a Tercey battle

The Tercey Campaign:  fictional solo game : Battle of Sticksley

With the return of the main armies to the Shire, and Earl of Rockforth’s Red faction’s command of the area, the Tawney party was on its heels.  However the knowledge of one of the Red’s wagon was a prize to tempting not to resist,  and so Lord Pomsby sought to plan its ambush near the town of Sticksley.
The area was very flat and with crops not of any height, he needed to place his ambush units some distance and widely spaced.  Longe’s Musketeers were to be the main unit, hidden as it was in a graveyard near the important crossroads.  Ballard’s Pike were to march from its hidden location to block the bridge and support Longe.  Ballard’s Shotte would then advance from its hiding of a farm house to the creek’s far edge offering protection as it would offer volleys into the flank of the enemy column.
Robarte's Shotte at the bridge

The Red column was led by Urry’s experienced horse.  However there seemed to be no overall command of the column which was to led to problems during the battle. The wagons for example continued their slow trek only to clog up the bridge and be lost in during the battle.
Urry's horsemen about to be shot upon by Longe's musketeers

The battle commenced with Longe’s very effective volley into the surprised horsemen. The following column too were put into confusion by the start of the fighting, rolling not to activate at all.  Bravely charging their tormentors, Urry’s horsemen, hurled themselves at Longe but the musketeers calmly met the charge.  Urry’s remaining troopers morale finally collapsed as they fell back to the bridge now cluttered with wagons, packhorses and men from the musketeers of Robartes Regiment. The latter had advanced to meet Ballard’s counterparts who had rapidly moved through an early growth wheat field to line the creek edge.  They would continue to shoot at each other for most of the remainder of the battle bravely matching casualties.“the valley was all smoke and fire such as the bowels of hades” wrote one participant, “and such bravery the devil himself could not conceive”
(Successive courage tests were passed regardless of the casualties)

Ballard's await word to advance.  The sheep look on.
Tawny forces converge on the Red position at the bridge. Longe is in the field on the left, Ballard along the creek on the right, Ballard's Pike coming down the road.  Robarte's red-coated shotte facing Ballard while the useless Nerne dragoons are unable to find ammunition to fire upon Longe's unit in the field. The abandoned wagon blocks the bridge.

While Robarte’s Shotte was effective, Nerne’s Dragoons were still on the far side of the creek, the wagon abandoned at the bridge, its horses shot down and driver having legged it.

Robarte’s officer now ordered a retreat hoping to take the remaining pack animals back to the other side of the creek to safety but obviously his men’s ardour overwhelmed them. (I sought to have the unit save themselves but it failed its move activation!) It took further casualties and a courage test to have them break and run.

Meanwhile, Nerne’s Dragoons, true to form based on their rather poor previous performances in battle, failed numerous activations and stood about without effect. (it failed 70% of its activations this game!)

Pomsby's ambush has been a success. The wagon, not surprisingly stocked with liquor, was quickly ransacked by the troops.  An officer managed to recover one bottle of claret which the Lord accepted gracefully. He toasted the troops for their victory which was met with resounding cheers. The Tawneys may have found their new leader to challenge the command of the Earl of Rockforth’s dominance of the Shire.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Walk in the woods..

With our penchant for ‘Rampanty” rules, the new “Rebels and Patriots” was exciting so JimF brought over his French and Indian Wars figures for a go.  I played the French while Peter took the ‘Injuns’ while Clayton commanded most of the British with Jim handling the single cannon (as he suggested he would be doing enough to consult the rules)

Now as with all Rampant rules, a poor die roll will most likely change things immensely.  Clayton found that out as his Provincials ran off very early in the game (and later, Jim’s cannoneers would but sit around failing many successive activations  (no more ammunition perhaps??) .
The French on the left, British Highlanders in the distance facing the natives (right)

Peter’s natives flittered about in the wood edge targeting the aggressive highlanders which Clayton could not seem to get into contact.  Meanwhile my French “marines” (regulars of the New France) performed light infantry duties against the Highlanders also while my Coureur de Bois (skirmishers) harassed the British light gun.
"the eagle's view"

The big units of natives did well, and the Highlanders finally gave way but not until one unit was totally eliminated!  The new way of testing for morale certainly can result in lots of loss before breaking….as long as you roll well, of course……

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Flying and Dying

Once again a game of Canvas Eagles the other day.  And once again, I fail as a pilot.
First plane…blew up. I drew the wrong ‘red chit”
Second plane…on fire and would crash. Started as smoke but of course I would roll a 1, not to extinguish, but to have it turn into a blaze!
My Sopwith Triplane on fire over the lines and above my custom made stand

Overall, a typical game for me. Planely tragic......

Monday, 4 March 2019

Plunder, sir!

I love the movie "Waterloo" (1970) I was very young seeing it for the first time but already I was a confirmed military history buff.  I still think it a very good movie for the accuracy of the uniforms, history and even the acting portrayals of the characters. (Having read some of Napoleon's letters, his 'ranting' on screen is not far off the mark!) Alright, the terrain of the Ukraine is not correct for the battle site but can't have everything! The famous building important to the battle were good however.

One of the humorous scenes is when Wellington questions a soldier of the Inniskilling Regiment about the contents of his pack. The soldier had just plundered a pig and sought to defend his hopeless position to the commander-in-chief.

Wargaming mate, WillB, won, as the club door prize, the Warlord figure done for the Historicon 2015 convention and was kind enough to present him to me.  I just HAD to do it up quickly!

I put it in behind my element of the Inniskilling which represents Lambert's Brigade.  'Wellington' is a Essex French officer of which I heavily carved the bicorne to more represent the distinctive curvature of the headdress.
"I knew something queer wa' scratching me back..."
The Inniskillings is my representative unit for Lambert's Brigade at Waterloo

here is the scene from the movie:
link to Youtube movie scene

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Near a bridge in Russia....

"Where are we, Francois?", the recruit asks of his veteran friend.  "Near a bridge somewhere in Russia which the Major is ordered to control. That is all I know and that is more than you need to know", responded the much older and worn French cavalryman.

This could only be the exchange between the miniatures, as I dragged them out of the box, about the rather simple scenario I came up with placing the terrain randomly upon the green mats.  As we would have WillB's Russians ( Perry metals ) and JimF's newly painted French (Essex metals) along with my French (Perry) plastics, the small wooden bridge was called the objective for the game.  Honestly it was only going to be a playtest of sorts for our "Hussar Rampant" rules; these really just a minor version from the popular 'Lion Rampant' medieval rules.
WillB's Russians on the left, JimF's dragoons near the bridge, and my French lights centre top
Will pushing his Russian cuirassiers into position while Jim's dragoons cross the stream.

Now this version has had many editions as I struggled to give them a more horse and musket formal feel to them and thus, they got more complicated.  My final version got so complicated that I believed them somewhat unplayable!  However, the new 'Rampanty' rules of "Rebels and Patriots" has a new and brilliantly simple incorporation of random charge movement with the activation which, in a head-slap moment, solved many of the issues which I struggled with.  Essentially, as you make your charge activation, the two-dice total you rolled also indicates the total inches you can move in that charge.  The higher the dice total the further your unit can move.  It can also come to pass that your unit, while able to charge, was slow off the mark and could come up short to actually contacting the enemy.  Oops. Such is friction of war.  This randomized movement also works very well for evades; so now units further away probably have a greater chance to get away but the chargers may still catch them.  Now incorporated seamlessly in the rules, any complicated ordering sequence is unnecessary.

With that rule in place we were joined by DennisC taking one of Will's commands and off we went charging about.  Jim had to cross a small stream, worried about my "Death in Rough Terrain!!" rule......he passed the rolls without issue!.  The armoured cuirassiers are tough buggers, units die quickly but usually stick around for awhile, and counter-charges are important...are some of the things we learnt.
My depleted Chasseurs, having failed their charge activation,  hold up the larger number of  Hussars behind them
The white clad Russian cuirassiers charge in. The French fail to make a mark on them..... the cuirassiers could meet my hussars, and attached commander, next turn. 

But while we maintained formations, the movement was point-to-point without the care of wheeling or changes of facing.  Not what we might consider for the "formal formations and tactics of the day" but it was simple, and lessened any complications to the moves.  The rules seemed to work and all the players had fun without issues.